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IWFM welcomes government consultation on flexible working

The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management Government (IWFM) has backed a government consultation on plans to give British workers the right to request flexible working from the first day in a new job, rather than having to wait up to six months under existing legislation.

Currently, an employee can make one flexible working request (for working from home or elsewhere, flexi-time, reduced/compressed hours, job shares, annualised/staggered hours, phased retirement) every 12 months and an employer has three months to consider whether that request can be accommodated.

The consultation is seeking views on how many flexible working requests should be permitted, how quickly employers should respond, whether the business reasons for refusing such requests remains valid, requiring employers to suggest an alternative if the original request is refused, and the administrative burden for businesses.

The Government supports flexible working as a key part of its ambition to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic and, recognising that such arrangements are not appropriate for all individuals or all businesses, is seeking to create a framework which encourages employee/employer conversations leading to genuine two-sided flexibility.

In the consultation document the Government sets out its view that flexible working arrangements not only benefit individual employees, they can also positively impact employers by removing invisible restrictions to jobs and fostering a more diverse and more skilled workforce, improving staff wellbeing, inclusion and motivation, and reducing staff turnover and recruitment costs, leading to increased productivity and improved financial performance.

IWFM’s CEO, Linda Hausmanis, said: “We view the Government’s intent as a positive sign that the right lessons are being learned from the home-working experiment of the past 18 months and will engage with the substance over the coming weeks. Now that many more people recognise that work is an activity, not a destination, it is critical that businesses enable them to do their best work, whenever and wherever it may take place. We will feed into the consultation to put forward flexible working best practice, while also guarding against unintended consequences, such as hindering career progression or creating two-tiered workforces.”

The Making Flexible Working the Default consultation is open until 1 December 2021 and can be viewed here. If you have any comments on flexible working which you would like us to consider as part of our response to the consultation, please email: policy@iwfm.org.uk.

Consultation on competence framework for Building Safety Managers begins

The BSI is consulting on the draft Publicly Available Specification (PAS) which lays out the competence framework for individual Building Safety Managers (BSMs) and nominated individuals working within an organisation Building Safety Manager carrying out the BSM duties.

We strongly encourage those who are responsible for building management to engage with this PAS as it will set the requirements for the BSM against which they will need to be certified.

This specification – PAS 8673 – is based on the recommendations regarding competence (i.e. skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours) and assessment given in Working Group 8’s (WG8) report Safer people, safer homes: building safety management.

IWFM was a key member of WG8 and is also part of the steering group involved in the development of this PAS, which is sponsored by MHCLG.

PAS 8673 specifies requirements for building safety competence relevant to the role, functions, activities and tasks of BSMs, the new statutory role outlined in the Building Safety Bill. The IWFM has compiled this briefing note on the Building Safety Bill to provide members with greater context to the PAS and the BSM role.

The PAS was also mapped against the recommendations and core competence criteria set out in BSI Flex 8670 Built environment – Core criteria for building safety in competence frameworks – Code of practice. ‘Building safety’ is used in the sense defined in BSI Flex 8670 and encompasses fire safety, structural safety, public safety and public health.

The draft PAS 8673 covers the competence and commitment of BSMs in regard to:

  • building structures and building systems
  • interaction of systems and components
  • operational practices necessary to maintain buildings safe for occupants
  • risk management
  • managing change, including the consequences of human behaviour
  • leadership, communication and planning skills
  • personal commitment to ethical behaviour and professional standards.

The specification describes different levels of competence for classifying BSMs and indicates the pathways between the levels. It shows how these levels relate to the competence requirements for managing buildings of different complexity and safety risks. The PAS also gives guidance on assessment of individuals.

IWFM’s Life Safety Working Group will review the proposed specification and will consult with other relevant stakeholders before submitting a response to the consultation (closing date is 15 September 2021).

IWFM begins consultation on social value framework for FM

The IWFM is now inviting workplace and facilities professionals to participate in a consultation on the draft National TOMs Facilities Management Plug In (NT FM Plug In).

For the last few years, the IWFM Sustainability Survey has evidenced the need for greater clarity around social value, while a 2018 Leaders’ Forum Report articulated how there was a role for IWFM in creating social value metrics and an industry-agreed definition of what ‘social value’ should mean.

Since then, IWFM has joined forces with The Social Value Portal and the National Social Value Taskforce to develop such an FM-specific framework.

The Draft NT FM Plug In is a culmination of work that has been ongoing since 2019 and has included a wide range of meetings and discussions with facilities management experts. It has been specifically designed to help organisations in the sector measure and maximise the social value they create through the sourcing and delivery of their services; importantly, it will also allow organisations to report value created as a financial contribution to society. The publication of the final version is scheduled for later in 2020.

The National TOMs are a framework for social value measurement and management that allows for an unlocking of social value through its integration into procurement and project management.

The survey has been designed to collect feedback from a wider set of stakeholders to ensure the NT FM Plug In meets the needs and priorities on social value measurement and management within the facilities management sector. The survey itself is accompanied by a series of supporting documents which provide more background and guidance on the TOMs.

The consultation is open until 6 September and it takes around 15 minutes to complete. If you have any questions about the NT FM Plug In or the survey, please contact: philipp.cyrus@socialvalueportal.com

Please participate in the survey here.

IWFM teams with Microsoft for smart workplaces

The IWFM has begun a research and development collaboration with Microsoft to explore a shared vision for the role of technology in high performing workplaces.

A new programme themed around connected and smart workplaces will see the partners collaborate on new research that could influence workplace performance.

The collaboration will be launched during Workplace Week on 14 November 2019 with an industry event, while ongoing research, insights and guidance content being shared throughout 2020.  

The IWFM says advancements such as the Internet of Things, AI and big data, combined with existing technologies such as building information modelling, analytics and workplace design can contribute to improved building and business outcomes. 

As such, exploring the theme of workplace transformation in the technological age, the IWFM and Microsoft will jointly introduce new research to equip workplace and business leaders with tools and insights that could to transform their organisations into connected high performers.

The move follows research published by the IWFM last year, Embracing Technology to move FM forward, which explored the disruption and opportunities presented by technology and highlighted the opportunity cost of missing out on the digital upgrade.  

It suggested that the opportunities to be derived from creatively combining existing and new technologies to support better outcomes leave workplace professionals well placed to help businesses to stay competitive and efficient.

The IWFM says its alliance with Microsoft will combine the know-how of its own industry experts with the cutting-edge capability of the tech giant’s Smart Buildings team to explore the opportunities and challenges facing technology and workplace development. The programme will generate further insights to help individuals and organisations understand and navigate the technology and experience matters which can combine to create people centred workplaces capable of driving better outcomes.

Chris Moriarty, IWFM’s Director of Insight and Engagement, said: “We are taking, shaping and making future-ready the workplace technology conversation so its relevant to today’s businesses environment. The collaboration with Microsoft Smart Buildings team will harness our rich knowledge and resources to offer workplace optimising insights for the future, building on IWFM’s established research base. Working with Microsoft will not only speed that up, it can help us to understand the innovation most relevant for workplace leaders whose businesses will need a tech transformation to compete effectively.”

David Williams, Innovation Architect – Microsoft Digital, Smart Buildings Worldwide Community Lead, said: “Technology innovation is a gamechanger to drive new models and transform today’s businesses and workplaces. Working with IWFM, we have a unique opportunity to increase awareness of technology within the workplace. This partnership will enable us to empower workplace leaders to elevate the workplace conversation to senior levels and do more with the technology and innovation available. 

Kari Allen, Head of Partnerships at b2b partnerships Ltd, who led the development of IWFM’s collaboration with Microsoft, said: “This collaboration presents an exciting opportunity to jointly produce market leading research and insights that are unique and impactful. This collaboration boosts both IWFM and Microsoft’s aspiration to inspire and equip workplace and business leaders to transform their workplaces today into high performing organisations for the future”.

IWFM and Australia’s FMA strengthen ties

A new five-year collaboration has been announced between the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) and the Facilities Management Association of Australia (FMA) bringing together 19,000 FM professionals across 80 countries.

The collaboration aims to develop joint initiatives to support the informal professional development of respective members, while working towards more formal arrangements for sharing access to member benefits and services.

Cross-collaboration will happen across a number of member services, including access to certain exclusive content such as research and insight reports, training, conferences and other CPD activity; plus, a range of discounted offers. The arrangement also allows for the mutual recognition of membership credentials.  

A broader aim is to collaborate on activities to advance the profession’s development, internationally, including knowledge, research, innovation and benchmarking, embedding the Workplace and Facilities Management Professional Standards, ISO Standards, accreditation and assessment schemes and promotional activity.  

Announcing the move at his final AGM before stepping down as IWFM Chairman, Stephen Roots, said: “Our HQs may be half the world apart, but our networks are strong and our ambitions for global workplace and facilities management excellence are in exactly the same space. This arrangement will work to our members’ mutual benefit and through that, for the good of our profession as a whole.” 

FMA Chairman, Kristiana Greenwood, said: “This collaboration perfectly aligns the values and strategic goals of both associations and, with today’s technology, distance is irrelevant. I am very excited about the opportunities this will offer to our broader membership and look forward to demonstrating the tangible benefits to members through the development of the annual action plan.”

Underpinned and reviewed by an action plan, the first joint initiative under the scheme will be announced in due course. 

IWFM publishes Brexit advice for employers

The Institute of Workplace & Facilities Management (IWFM) has pulled together a guide that outlines the key forthcoming changes to immigration and employment post-Brexit.

Immigration has played a key role in helping to address the growing skills gap in FM, with migrants filling one in four jobs in some sectors.

The trade body says that after Brexit, the ending of free movement of people from the EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) plus Switzerland, coupled with the Government’s proposed new immigration policy, will have profound consequences for employers needing to fill vital roles in cleaning, security, catering, construction and across the whole profession.

It has therefore outlined the key forthcoming changes to immigration rules, the dates when they come into effect and how they will affect the 3.7 million EEA citizens already living in the UK as well as those looking to come here to work.

You can download the full document here. It outlines both ‘deal’ and ‘no deal’ scenarios and the permutations of each for FM employers.

IWFM assesses impact of government’s waste management strategy

The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) has analysed the contents of the the government’s recently unveiled waste and resource management strategy to assess its impact on the FM sector.

The UK is looking to position itself as a leader in resource efficiency thanks to a new strategy by the government that adds developing sustainability to the agenda, with Environment Secretary Michael Gove also outlining plans for a low carbon economy.

Reviewing the government’s 146-page waste and resource strategy document, the IWFM found that the most likely impact on most workplace and FM professionals include:

• Eliminating avoidable business, industrial, chemical and household waste by 2030
• Developing the Business in the Community’s Circular Office initiative to change the way workplaces are designed, used and operated to eliminate waste and create more efficient, resilient spaces which contribute to the long-term sustainability of businesses, the environment and the wider economy
• Increasing resource efficiency and minimising waste in the built environment sector through developments such as digitalisation, off-site manufacturing and innovative construction materials and techniques
• Extending mandatory corporate reporting on resource usage to include reuse, repair and recycling; moving from weight-based to impact-based targets
• Ensuring, if necessary through legislation, that businesses present recycling and food waste separately from residual waste for collection and make information available on what is recycled
• Reducing food surplus and waste through dedicated strategies for schools, hospitals and other public sector institutions, with mandatory targets and annual reporting
• A deposit return scheme for single-use drinks containers and measures to reduce the environmental impacts of disposable cups
• More sustainable government procurement to achieve the best whole life value for money with social value, including environmental considerations, at the heart of policy
• Improving the transportation, management and description of waste by making businesses more accountable for their waste when it is passed along the resource chain
• Regulations forcing those responsible for producing environmentally damaging materials to pay the full cost of recycling or disposing of their waste

In terms of next steps, the IWFM says it will provide an update through their Good Practice Guide on Recycling and Waste Management in early 2019, considering the practical and legal implications for workplace and facilities management professionals.

IWFM cites National Living Wage as aid to stop absenteeism

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) has looked at the impact of the National Living Wage (NLW) on the FM sector, with input from the the Institute of Workplace & Facilities Management (IWFM).

The Low Pay Commission’s 2018 report says that increases to the NLW this year have benefited up to five million workers and helped to push up pay for the lowest fifth of earners without causing any reduction in employment.

The IWFM says it has been actively engaged in the LPC’s public consultations on the impact of the NLW as well as in other related employment issues.

The organisations says engagement with members has enabled it to submit evidence and insight to the LPC to promote a better understanding of the FM profession and to help shape the setting of future rates.

The IWFM has also facilitated consultation visits by LPC Commissioners to employer members.

The Government has accepted the LPC’s recommendations for next year’s NLW rates, which will apply from April 2019 (£8.21 for those aged 25 and over, lower rates for younger workers).

Together with the recent announcements by the Living Wage Foundation and the Mayor of London of increased hourly Living Wage rates (£9.00 for the UK and £10.55 in the capital), the IWFM says the new rates will build on the business benefits of higher pay, such as reduced staff turnover and improved morale.

However, the IWFM cautions that with 1.6 million people still paid at or below the NLW, almost two thirds of who are women, there remains a need for drive further changes on the pay agenda.

The IWFM says it will continue to make the case for fair and secure employment for all workers and ensure that its members’ views and experiences are considered by Government on future decisions which affect the FM profession.

Read the full LPC report here.

Praise for Government approach to technical careers

A speech by the Education Secretary, in which plans were set out to help more people into skilled areas of employment, along with a warning to leave ‘snobby’ attitudes to technical careers behind post-Brexit, has been met with approval by ABM UK.

The company, which launched the UK’s first Junior Engineering Engagement Programme, has called for UCAS equivalents for apprenticeships, with recent research suggesting that a gender barrier has been crossed in engineering and facilities management sectors.

Discussing the plans and speech, Adam Baker, Director, ABM UK said: “The work being done to encourage more young people into engineering is much needed and very welcome. Bringing parity to T Levels and A Levels is a strong step in the right direction, and will help to profile technical careers in their true light; life-long, lucrative and fulfilling, often coupled with high-level training.

“There are some signs of improvement. For example, recent research which we commissioned on the perception of technical careers revealed that just 16 per cent of young people considered technical roles to be ‘for boys’. With 89 per cent of the UK’s current engineering workforce being male, this is promising! It means that for the vast majority of young people, a gender barrier has been crossed, and that the workforce across technical industries in the future will look incredibly different to what it does today.

“As a next step, we’d like to see a similar offering to that of UCAS but for apprenticeships; a system that truly profiles all pathways available to young people. This is vital if we’re to close skills gaps and boost industry in the UK.”

Last month, thirty-six school children from West London graduated from the world’s first Junior Engineering Engagement Programme (J.E.E.P), which first started in January 2018 following research which highlighted that sixty  percent of young people were unlikely to consider working in the engineering and facilities management industries.

The programme launches again in 2019 and seeks to change the perception of apprenticeships and technical careers and plug the skills gap in key industries. All graduates receive official commendation from a certified industry body, the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM, formerly BIFM).

Linda Hausmanis, Chief Executive of the IWFM, said: “The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (formerly BIFM) is delighted to support ABM UK in this initiative. This graduation marks an important moment for the industry – it’s a step towards making apprenticeships in facilities management a stronger proposition for young people looking at career choices, and compliments IWFM’s work to reposition the FM profession as a career of choice not chance.

“There’s a serious skills gap in the industry, which can only be plugged if we pull together to highlight the fulfilling end careers we can offer. We look forward to next year when the programme aims to engage even more young people in careers in workplace and facilities management.”

BIFM begins transition to IWFM

The British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) has commenced its transition to become the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM), with the full changeover to its new brand in effect from November 19th.

Staff have been working behind the scenes to make the transition to IWFM since members voted for the name change at the AGM in July.

The current BIFM website will be offline from Friday, November 16th while the switch is made to a new site, while more products and services will be online and a part of the IWFM brand in the following weeks.

BIFM says that transitioning to the IWFM is a defining strand of its ambition to reframe facilities management, emphasising its ability to make a real contribution to the performance of organisations – more value creator, less cost centre.

If any member needs to speak to the Institute urgently while the transition is taking place, you can call them on +44 (0) 1279 712 620.

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